3 die as picnic bus turns turtle in Sangam

ARTO Kulgam accuses traffic police of negligence

Two women and a boy were killed and 31 others injured when their picnic bus skidded off the road in Sangam area of this South Kashmir district along Srinagar-Jammu Highway on Tuesday evening.
The passengers, all members of an extended family from Choch village of Shiczan area in Kulgam district, were on a picnic to Gulmarg and were on way back home when the accident took place.
A police official said preliminary investigation suggests that the driver of the mini-bus bearing registration number JK03-8336 lost control of the vehicle and it turned turtle at around 10.45 pm.
He said two women and a body died on spot and 31 others sustained injuries in the accident. “Police and locals immediately rushed to the encounter site and evacuated the injured to hospital”.
The official said 25 of the injured were later shifted to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment. The doctors have termed condition of some of them as critical.
The deceased were identified as 32 year old Shameema wife of Fayaz Ahmad; 33 year old Nayeema wife of Abid Ali and 12 year old Irfan Ali Bhat, son of Ashiq Hussain Bhat, all residents of Choch village of Schiczan area in Kulgam.
Meanwhile, district administration Anantnag has announced relief for the deceased as well as the injured from the Red Cross fund.
“A relief of Rs 10,000 has been sanctioned for the deceased and Rs 5000 for the injured,” an official said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) Kulgam, Mubashir Jan, said driver of the ill fated vehicle had not sought permission from State Transport Authority nor from Regional Transport Authority.
“The vehicle had a capacity for 22 passengers but it was carrying at least 52 people. We fail to understand why traffic police right from Kulgam to Gulmarg did not notice it. It is sheer negligence of the traffic police that they allowed the driver to play with the lives of innocent people,” he said.
Jan said initial investigation has revealed that the vehicle was neither stopped nor checked by any traffic cop anywhere, though it covered a long distance.
He also held New General Mini Bus Association Anantnag responsible for the accident. “We are seeking explanation from the Association as to how it permitted the driver to take people on picnic when he had not sought permission from the concerned agency,” he added.  (Additional inputs from CNS)

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